Friday, January 18, 2013

Getting The Answers We Want...Or Do We?

So as you know, I've been filling out job applications for nurse staffing agencies.  Just a quick primer on nurse staffing agencies for those not in the biz, as an experienced nurse you can apply to several agencies and they will submit you for temporary jobs, usually 13 week assignments, and if you are hired all housing is paid, most of the income is non-taxable because you have to travel more than 50 miles or so to complete the assignment, you are paid a stipend.....In a nutshell, you can make a lot of money, for a nurse, or at least a lot more money than you make working for a hospital and you don't have to work full-time.

So....while I'd much rather sit on my ass, as I have been doing for the last umpteen years and leech off the cap'n, there are drawbacks to that, which I have addressed in this blog before.  Lack of independence, lack of self-worth, lack of sufficient funds to spoil grandkids with....

So....the perfect job came along. Forty miles away from my hometown where I worked this summer, small hospital, since I don't really want to be challenged at this stage or age, and I've actually worked there before, eons ago.  Close to two kids, close to one grandson, close to friends...  And one of my friends has a daughter that has an apartment she wants to sublease in this community. Cheap. 

 So perfect!

But...there's always a but.

There are things I still want to do down here in Mexico this year, more travel, more time with friends, more fundraisers for next year's Chelem Christmas.  All very self-serving endeavors, well, except for the toy drive.  And I am willing to sacrifice them, begrudgingly.

Except....there's always a few of those too.  There is one thing I am doing that I am not ready to talk about yet.  I've always wanted to do it. I've always felt that I was meant to do it.  I've attempted it several times.  But I've never accomplished it.  It feels like it is time.  It feels like something my Co-writer wants me to do.  I've been doing it in these last few weeks since Christmas and I can't even begin to explain the difference in this attempt.  The rightness.  The times that I have been absolutely been blown away by it.

I could probably still do it and take one of these temporary jobs, but would I?

So....Yesterday I had a talk with my Co-writer and said, "For once could you give me a straight forward answer?  None of these ambivalent, wishy-washy answers that I have to try and figure out what it is that you want me to do.  If you want me to take this job instead of dedicating the next few months to this thing "we've" been doing, just check the box.  Yes, or No.

So....I had a phone interview with the director of the OR of this hospital yesterday and I hung up feeling confident.

But....I didn't get the job.  She told the recruiter that she was concerned about my seemed inexperience in endoscopy (colonscopes and gastroscopes).  Now there are other areas of surgery (hearts and heads), I might have understood this but I can say with out batting an eye that I have probably done 999,000 endoscopes in my career.  What is she looking for? A nice round million?

So....I got my answer.

Didn't I?

So why am I scurrying around this morning, all hurt pride and shit, filling out more applications, sending more emails to more agencies?

Why am I afraid of the answer?

Please feel free to opine.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I was going to string you along and talk about my going to a bar yesterday and let you think, just for a minute, that I had once again taken the plunge back into boozedom on my return to Mexico yesterday (I didn't) but then I read a post this morning by a fellow traveler on this treacherous journey who relapsed recently after 18 months of sobriety and it didn't seem so funny anymore.  This person's story is truly tragic and if they have any "yets" left, I can't imagine what they'd be.

It just goes to show that no matter how far we remove ourselves from alcohol or how deep we fall into its depths, we are never immune to its insidious nature.

No, I'm not hungover from booze, instead I am suffering from a run-of-the-mill travel hangover.  A full day of travel on Monday and I'm still wiped out on Wednesday. Plus, I threw away all my hard work on the no-sugar, no caffeine treatise I had issued for my body and I'm sure the overload is compounding the sluggishness.

Yesterday as I was struggling with the lock on our gate and getting frustrated by the simple task, my tiredness making everything seem Herculean monumental, I realized that I used to feel this very same way almost every single day.  Just a short 18 months or so ago.


Re: the picture of the Camote (sweet potato) above and the bar I went to yesterday.  My favorite place for camarones empanizada down here is a local fishermen's bar called Camote's.  Camote, himself, is a fisherman and local legend has it that his nickname is derived from the camote's resemblance to a certain part of his anatomy.  (That's an image I could live without).

Anyway I was kind of congratulating myself on the fact that I made a few phone calls and pretty soon we had three tables lined up in this bar full of mi amigos drinking beer and eating fried fish in all of its forms.  Kind of proud that the gal who no longer imbibes can still get the party rolling.

And, if I may add, never even thought about having a drink.

Then I read that post this morning.

Just because the giant is sleeping, doesn't mean its not still dangerous.  It's always laying in wait.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Malpracticed Life


I have been filling out applications to go to work for nursing travel agencies for the last 3 days.  You can't imagine the relief I feel that I am able to mark all the above questions " no."  Relieved and humbled and guilty.  I don't deserve to be able to mark those little round "no" dots.  If the questions had asked  "Have you ever driven drunk or impaired?" That little "yes" dot would be marked.  If they'd asked have you ever malpracticed?  My answer would have to be, "Yes, I malpracticed every time I came to work hungover or with traces of last night's booze in my blood and brain and I was unable to dedicate my full faculties and concentration and care to my patients.  I malpracticed for all of my 30 years as a nurse because even if I wasn't hungover or legally impaired, I now know that booze leaves a lingering haze of apathy long after any physical proof of it's presence has been leached out.

And, yes, I should have had disciplinary action and yes I should have had malpractice suits.

I just didn't get caught.  I flew under the radar.

And I believed that I was a damn good nurse.

If I'd ever been caught, my life as I know it, would not be.

And that's just my professional life.

I malpracticed every day of my personal life, too.

I practiced the same disregard for others, my family, friends, and strangers on the street.  I put them in harms way everyday.

Once again, I just didn't get caught

Does that matter?

The harmful effects on them, the harmful effects on my patients were the same, whether I got caught or not.

I relied, I sat in wait, for that validation, that DUI, that reprimand from the boss, when I already knew what I was doing was wrong.

Why did I do that?

Thank God, I finally made the decision to stop without any of those validations.  Would they have made a difference?  Maybe not on my past, but they sure would have limited my future.  A future I am so undeserving of.  I am obligated to honor that privilege fully.

Thank you, God.  Show me the way.

P.S.  If you are sitting in wait for that gavel to come down that convicts you of being guilty.  Stop! Stop right now, because that gavel is a sledgehammer to your future!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Shit We Leave Behind

 When there is no wind, you have to row.

“Recovery feels like shit. It didn't feel like I was doing something good; it felt like I was giving up. It feels like having to learn how to walk all over again.”
Portia de Rossi

“You were sick, but now you're well again, and there's work to do.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake

 “You were born a child of light’s wonderful secret— you return to the beauty you have always been.”
Aberjhani, Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black

I keep looking behind me, checking for something I've forgotten, it's this niggling feeling that's supposed to be there, but it's gone.  Really.  I keep stopping myself, thinking, "What did I forget?  Something's missing."

I first noticed it when the phone would ring.  My mind kept looking for a reason not to answer it, there was none.   I kept waiting for a feeling of dread to creep over me.  There was none of that either.

I noticed it several times when I was getting ready for Santa to come to Chelem.  I kept checking my To Do lists, but I couldn't find anything else that I needed to get done.  I'd taken care of everything I needed to take care of.
I noticed it when I flew back here to the states.  I checked my bags over and over.

Stanley's papers-check
Everything I needed was there, and two weeks later, I still haven't found anything I forgot to bring.

I noticed it at Christmas at my son's house.  All the presents were wrapped, everyone was remembered, there was no last minute dash to the mall.  Ok, I'm lying about that, I did forget that I was supposed to pick-out the gift for my granddaughter from her Uncle.  God, it felt good to say, "Oh shit! I forgot." and know that was all that I needed to say. No cover-ups, no excuses, no racking my brain and then beating myself up that, once again, I'd been too drunk to remember.

That's when I was able to put my finger on what was missing. A heavy carry-on bag full of shit, and that's exactly what it is worthless, heavy, "hard to tote" shit.






And a whole shitload more of the heavy shit that drags you down.

I've done what I need to do, I've unloaded the guilt and made the apologies I need to make. I kept waiting for "the conversation" with my sons' at Christmas, you know, the one where they gang-up and ask why I kept drinking so long when I knew it was hurting them.  It never came.  I've had the conversation with each of them individually and I guess that's good enough for them. Check that one off my list.  There is nothing in my backpack that I need to hide or sneak through, including booze.  Again, been there, done that.

Sure, I still have things I want to do. But I'm no longer afraid that I'm unable to do them, or at least try my damnedest to get 'em done.  The biggest thing on my To-Do list this year is to bring my middle son back into the core of our family, he's drifting away and I've got to do this before he gets out of reach.  I know it's not all up to me, but I'm strong enough now to stand up for him, to him, and, hopefully, with him.

And I have the reassurance that I will.

It's an incredible lightness of being.  Indescribable.  Really.

P.S.  And now a few words about the not so incredible lightness of my physical being.  I've stuck pretty well to the Atkins diet and the sugar cravings have abated.  However...I am not following the no artificial sweeteners rule.  Gotta put that on the list for later on, after I conquer the caffeine withdrawals, which I'm doing pretty well with.  I'm down to about two caffeine drinks a day, I was drinking Diet Pepsi con caffeine from the time I got up in the morning until I went to bed at night.  Now I've switched to the decaf version until I feel that bitch of a headache coming on, then I'll let myself have some caffeine and it goes away.  BTW, if you're not avoiding artificial sweeteners, the Atkins have a whole line of new frozen meals and snack and breakfast bars that are really, really good.  Just don't eat too much of them because the sugar alcohols will give you the shits big time. (Anybody counting how many times I've used the word shit in this blog, I think I might get an award or something.) Also, Braums still has their wonderful Carb Smart Ice Cream. (I'm such a Cheatah!) which will also give you the shits.  But it's worth it. No scales here, but I do feel a whole shitload lighter.

And now a few words about getting physically stronger.  The hotel we're staying at has a workout room and I got on the elliptical machine the other evening.  OMG!  That thing is diabolical.  Don't laugh, but I was only able to do 2 minutes on it and I thought my heart was going to burst.  I think there's something wrong with their machine though,  I have it on the lowest setting and it creaks and groans the whole time.  Oh wait, that was me.  LOL

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


“When others in doubt, your strong belief steers.”
Toba Beta, Betelgeuse Incident

“It just be life, that's all. Ain't nothin' happened to you, ain't happened to most women whether they care to admit it or not. You strong, Babygirl. You a woman. You gotta be.”
Marilyn Fullen-Collins 

“you never know how strong you are... until being strong is the only choice you have.”
― Cayla Mills

“Where the will is strong there’ll always be a way
The dream goes on forever and a day”
― Samael

Stronger!  That is my word for the year.  I'm kind of borrowing it from Lance Armstrong's philosophy, "Live Strong," minus the performance enhancing drugs and years of lying or purported lying.  Been there, done that.

Why Stronger, not strong?

Because I already feel incredibly strong.  Stronger than I ever remember feeling in my life.  Others have always commented on what I strong person I am, but in my past I found that statement ludicrous.  Couldn't they see the real me behind the facade, the one that felt on the verge of crumbling if someone poked too hard.  The hairline cracks snaking across the eggshell thin surface, breath held tight in fear of shattering.

Then I did. Crumble and shatter, that is.  And everyone saw that it was all an act.

I could have laid there in pieces, but I didn't.  I rebuilt. Me. Stronger!

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I had a mantra that I repeated to myself as I lay in bed at night, a quivering pile of splintered shards of myself.

Dear God,
Help me,
Be Better,
(I would try to picture in my mind a healthier, whole me.  It was so hard to remember what I looked like)
Live Better,
(To have just a semblance of a life again.)
Love Better.
(To once again be able to feel real love, for myself, and others)

It worked.

I am better, I live better,  I love better.

May I present my new mantra:

Dear God,
Help me,
Be Stronger,
(physically, emotionally, spiritually)

Live Stronger,
(I have jumped so many hurdles in the last year, conquered so many fears, I feel so capable)

Love Stronger.
(Oh yeah! Watch out!)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Peaceful New Year To All!

I'm wishing you all a very peaceful New Year this year instead of a Happy New Year!  It's not that I don't want you to have a Happy year, I do, I really do, but I know it's impossible to be Happy all the time.  And do we really want to be?  What does Happy build?  You wouldn't be the wonderful "you's" I've come to love, if all you'd ever known was happiness.

 Happy is what we were chasing in all those endless pretty bottles. Down to the last drop.

Instead I'm wishing you all Peace.  Peace which is sustainable and sustaining.  Peace that can carry you through the year, Happy or Sad.  Peace that allows you to look past today into the tomorrows of the coming year with clear eyes, open arms and open heart.  No Fears.


You can't get it in a bottle.


P.S.  If  I remember right, I was 24 years old when I first made the New Year's resolution to learn to control my drinking by the years end or else quit completely.  It only took me 26 years to fulfill that resolution.  It's so nice to have room for new resolve.